December 2, 2003

Sam Goody Store Shutting its Doors

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Cornell’s music buffs may have been excited by the blowout sales at the Sam Goody in Collegetown last week, but were probably disappointed by the occasion of the sale. The music store on College Avenue will be closing right after Christmas.

According to Robert Abele, Operations Manager of Ithaca Rentals, Sam Goody first opened in Collegetown in 1979. During its 24 years of business in Ithaca, the store was rebuilt once due to a fire which burnt down the majority of the space in 2000. According to Abele, it moved across the street while renovations took place, and reopened later that year at the present 407 location.

Though real estate values in Collegetown have been rising, this was not the cause of Sam Goody closing, Abele said. According to Abele, “The value of real estate didn’t affect them because their lease was carried over from before the renovations were made.”

The major cause for the store’s closing, according to Laurie Bauer, spokesperson for Musicland Group Inc., is the change in management of the Sam Goody chain. Previously owned by Best Buy, the chain is now under the management of Sun Capital Partners. According to Bauer, the new management will soon be closing 110 Sam Goody stores across the country, including nine out of 47 stores in New York State.

Sun Capital Partners is shutting down the least profitable stores in an effort to improve business. “There has been a decrease in sales across the country,” Bauer said, “and file sharing has surely contributed to the decline.”

The Sam Goody on College Avenue was considered to be one of the chain’s non-profitable stores. The popularity of file sharing among Cornell students has most likely contributed to the CD store’s failure, though the extent to which downloading music affected sales is hard to determine.

Aside from file sharing, Sam Goody faced tough competition from other CD/DVD stores in the area. Best Buy, located five minutes off campus by car, has an enormous selection and generally lower prices. “Two weeks ago I bought a 3-disc set at Best Buy for twelve dollars,” said Daniel Swersky ’05. “It would have been close to double that price at Sam Goody in Collegetown.”

However, some students do not have the means of transportation to get to Best Buy or other music stores, and are sad to see Sam Goody go. “The store closing is disappointing because there’s no longer a place to buy music for students without cars,” said Rachel Brook ’07.

Nothing has been decided yet about what store will open in Sam Goody’s place. “Several stores have expressed interest in taking over that space,” Abele said, “and negotiations will be finalized by next week.”

Archived article by Missy Kurzweil